About ‘Dr JP’

So, who am I? What can I tell you about ‘Dr JP’?

On a personal level, I would say I am a bit of an intellectual provocateur, sociologist, and nerd/geek, as well as being an aspirant nomad (at least somewhat). I tend to be a bit cynical and (this might seem like an oxymoron) a misanthropic extrovert.

Westerford High School badge
CPUT campus where I studied accounting (1997-2000).

I was born in Cape Town, South Africa and I spent most of my life in that city. My primary and secondary schooling (the start of diverse and unorthodox educational and career path), as with the rest of my education, took place in Cape Town. I was fortunate enough to attend Westerford High School. Since this was during South Africa’s transition period, I was a part of one of the earliest multiracial classes at that previously Whites-only school. I might have something more to say about that experience at some point.

After high school, I studied Cost and Management Accounting at what was then known as the Cape Technikon (but since become a part of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology).  

However, accounting was not my first choice, marketing was – I guess you could say that I was always fascinated by human behaviour in some way or another, even if it was focused on understanding why people spend where, when and/or how they do.

While studying (part-time) I had a full-time job working in an ink factory, initially as a manual labourer, but later running the office (including overseeing all accounts payable/receivable, payroll and more).

During my time working in that factory and studying accounting I was involved in my church as a youth leader/worker. This later led to me spending two years with the local office of Youth for Christ, aka YFC, (an international youth organisation). 

Those experiences (in my church and the youth), were the major influences that resulted in my pursuing a theology and pastoral leadership education.

I chose to the ‘BA in Christian Ministries’ programme at the Cornerstone Christian College. However, the degree was awarded by Stellenbosch University.

While studying I returned to the factory I mentioned earlier to work as a part-time bookkeeper. 

First-year class at Cornerstone Christian College (2003)

My mom passed away during my time at Cornerstone. A while later I had my first official diagnosis of depression and was briefly on medication (I believe #MentalHealthMatters so I will discuss this again at some point). Ultimately, those experiences played a major role in shaking up my perspective on life, choices and/or priorities.

After that degree I took a break from South Africa and moved around a bit – I spent time in England, Peru, and Argentina, as well as taking short trips to Bolivia and Chile. I worked in accounting in England, in tourism in Peru, and as a waiter-bartender and English (TEFL) teacher in Argentina. 

After returning to South Africa (by the way, I did not intend on staying), my original plans didn’t pan out, so I spent most of my 30s as a full-time student and/or researcher. During that time I obtained MSocSc (2013) and PhD (2019) degrees in sociology from the University of Cape Town

I also spent time working for a number of higher education institutions (public and private), as well as a few study abroad programmes, as a tutor, lecturer, research supervisor and/or member of a local review board (assessing research projects).

Eventually, I moved to a town called Potchefstroom (in the North West province, South Africa) thanks to a full-time teaching/lecturing job on the Potchefstroom campus of the North-West University, where I’ve spent the last 4 years.

During this time, I’ve done some work for the Wits School of Governance as an external moderator and served on the council of the South African Sociological Association. However, it has become clear that academia and/or South Africa were not ideal long-term environments for me… so, I chose to leave academia and South Africa.

Since January 2022 I have been living in Taiwan, thanks to the Taiwan Employment Gold Card. This is quite a different chapter and it comes with lots of potential. I intend to live in and/or be based here for the foreseeable future, although we all know how quickly life and/or the world around us can change.

Will I remain a lecturer? Unlikely. But, I still see myself as an educator, regardless of my day job. Will I continue in the type of research I did in my MSocSc and PhD? Uncertain. But, I am committed to the idea of life-long learning (both formal and informal). So, on some level I guess I’ll always be a researcher and/or sociologist.

Will I remain an academic? Unlikely. But, I aim to remain an engaged intellectual and life-long learner/student – whether that learning takes place in a classroom, through reading a book, by experiencing a new culture/context and/or by learning a new skill or language.

In terms of career, I’m not sure what I’m going to be doing next (see the Freelance Work page for updates)… This is in part because, in spite of my academic achievements, I’m not defined solely by my education and/or career path… put differently, I’m more than the sum of my degrees and past jobs, so I refuse to be limited by them.

Nevertheless, I do hope that some combination of my experience and/or education will open some doors in the near future… Watch this space for more!

If you would like more up-to-date information on what I’m doing and/or thinking about, please take a look at my blog page or click on one of the social media links at the top of this page.

This website was initially set up as a blog to share my thoughts about this new chapter, as well as a few photographs and/or videos. I also hope to promote the freelance work I plan on doing as a digital nomad (click here career info). If all goes well, I plan on embracing a more nomadic life for the foreseeable future.